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MT(1) FreeBSD General Commands Manual MT(1)

mt
magnetic tape manipulating program

mt [
-f tapename
] command [
count
]

mt [
-f tapename
] command argument

The mt utility is used to command a magnetic tape drive for operations other than reading or writing data.
The -f option's tapename overrides the TAPE environment variable described below.
The available commands are listed below. Only as many characters as are required to uniquely identify a command need be specified.
The following commands optionally take a count, which defaults to 1.
Write count end-of-file (EOF) marks at the current position. This returns when the file mark has been written to the media.
Write count end-of-file (EOF) marks at the current position. This returns as soon as the command has been validated by the tape drive.
Write count setmarks at the current position (DDS drives only).
Forward space count files.
Forward space count records.
Forward space count setmarks (DDS drives only).
Backward space count files.
Backward space count records.
Backward space count setmarks (DDS drives only).
Erase the tape using a long (often very long) method. With a count of 0, it will erase the tape using a quick method. Operation is not guaranteed if the tape is not at its beginning. The tape will be at its beginning upon completion.
The following commands ignore count.
Read the hardware block position. The block number reported is specific for that hardware only. With drive data compression especially, this position may have more to do with the amount of data sent to the drive than the amount of data written to tape. Some drives do not support this.
Read the SCSI logical block position. This typically is greater than the hardware position by the number of end-of-file marks. Some drives do not support this.
Rewind the tape.
, rewoffl
Rewind the tape and place the drive off line. Some drives are never off line.
Load the tape into the drive.
Re-tension the tape. This winds the tape from the current position to the end and then to the beginning. This sometimes improves subsequent reading and writing, particularly for streaming drives. Some drives do not support this.
Output status information about the drive. For SCSI magnetic tape devices, the current operating modes of density, blocksize, and whether compression is enabled is reported. The current state of the driver (what it thinks that it is doing with the device) is reported. If the driver knows the relative position from BOT (in terms of filemarks and records), it outputs that. Note that this information is not definitive (only BOT, End of Recorded Media, and hardware or SCSI logical block position (if the drive supports such) are considered definitive tape positions).
Also note that this is the old status command, and will be eliminated in favor of the new status command (see below) in a future release.
Output (and clear) error status information about this device. For every normal operation (e.g., a read or a write) and every control operation (e.g,, a rewind), the driver stores up the last command executed and it is associated status and any residual counts (if any). This command retrieves and outputs this information. If possible, this also clears any latched error information.
Output the current EOT filemark model. The model states how many filemarks will be written at close if a tape was being written.
, eom
Wind the tape to the end of the recorded data, typically after an EOF mark where another file may be written.
Report the block limits of the tape drive, including the minimum and maximum block size, and the block granularity if any.
The following commands may require an argument.
Set the hardware block position. The argument is a hardware block number to which to position the tape. Some drives do not support this.
Set the SCSI logical block position. The argument is a SCSI logical block number to which to position the tape. Some drives do not support this.
Set the block size for the drive. The argument is the number of bytes per block, except 0 commands the drive to use variable-length blocks.
Set the EOT filemark model to argument and output the old and new models. Typically this will be 2 filemarks, but some devices (typically QIC cartridge drives) can only write 1 filemark. You may only choose a value of 1 or 2.
Output status information about the drive. For SCSI magnetic tape devices, the current operating modes of density, blocksize, and whether compression is enabled is reported. The current state of the driver (what it thinks that it is doing with the device) is reported.
If the driver knows the relative position from BOT (in terms of filemarks and records), it outputs that. If the tape drive supports the long form report of the SCSI READ POSITION command, the Reported File Number and Reported Record Number will be numbers other than -1, and there may be Flags reported as well.
The BOP flag means that the logical position of the drive is at the beginning of the partition.
The EOP flag means that the logical position of the drive is between Early Warning and End of Partition.
The BPEW flag means that the logical position of the drive is in a Programmable Early Warning Zone or on the EOP side of Early Warning.
Note that the Reported Record Number is the tape block or object number relative to the beginning of the partition. The Calculated Record Number is the tape block or object number relative to the previous file mark.
Note that the Calculated File and Record Numbers are not definitive. The Reported File and Record Numbers are definitive, if they are numbers other than -1.
Print additional status information, such as the maximum supported I/O size.
Print all available status data to stdout in XML format.
Report density support information for the tape drive and any media that is loaded. Most drives will report at least basic density information similar to that reported by status command. Newer tape drives that conform to the T-10 SSC and newer tape specifications may report more detailed information about the types of tapes they support and the tape currently in the drive.
Print all available density data to stdout in XML format. Because density information is currently included in the general status XML report used for mt status command, this will be the same XML output via “mt status -x
Display or set parameters. One of -l, -s, or -x must be specified to indicate which operation to perform. See sa(4) for more detailed information on the parameters.
List parameters, values and descriptions. By default all parameters will be displayed. To display a specific parameter, specify the parameter with -p.
name
Specify the parameter name to list (with -l) or set (with -s).
Enable quiet mode for parameter listing. This will suppress printing of parameter descriptions.
value
Specify the parameter value to set. The general type of this argument (integer, unsigned integer, string) is determined by the type of the variable indicated by the sa(4) driver. More detailed argument checking is done by the sa(4) driver.
Print out all parameter information in XML format.
Display or set drive protection parameters. This is used to control checking and reporting a per-block checksum for tape drives that support it. Some drives may only support some parameters.
0|1
Set the Recover Buffered Data Protected bit. If set, this indicates that checksums are transferred with the logical blocks transferred by the RECOVERED BUFFERED DATA SCSI command.
Disable all protection information settings.
Enable all protection information settings. The default protection method used is Reed-Solomon CRC (protection method 1), as specified in ECMA-319. The default protection information length used with Reed-Solomon CRC is 4 bytes. To enable all settings except one more setting, specify the -e argument and then explicitly disable settings that you do not wish to enable. For example, specifying -e -w 0 will enable all settings except for LBP_W.
List available protection parmeters and their current settings.
len
Set the length of the protection information in bytes. For Reed-Solomon CRC, the protection information length should be 4 bytes.
num
Specify the numeric value for the protection method. The numeric value for Reed-Solomon CRC is 1.
0|1
Set the LBP_R parameter. When set, this indicates that each block read from the tape drive will have a checksum at the end.
Enable verbose mode for parameter listing. This will include descriptions of each parameter.
0|1
Set the LBP_W parameter. When set, this indicates that each block written to the tape drive will have a checksum at the end. The drive will verify the checksum before writing the block to tape.
Set the tape drive's logical position. One of -b, -e, -f, or -s must be specified to indicate the type of position. If the partition number is specified, the drive will first relocate to the given partition (if it exists) and then to the position indicated within that partition. If the partition number is not specified, the drive will relocate to the given position within the current partition.
block_addr
Relocate to the given tape block or logical object identifier. Note that the block number is the Reported Record Number that is relative to the beginning of the partition (or beginning of tape).
Relocate to the end of data.
fileno
Relocate to the given file number.
partition
Specify the partition to change to.
setmark
Relocate to the given set mark.
Set the drive's compression mode. The non-numeric values of argument are:
off
Turn compression off.
on
Turn compression on.
none
Same as off.
enable
Same as on.
IDRC
IBM Improved Data Recording Capability compression (0x10).
DCLZ
DCLZ compression algorithm (0x20).
In addition to the above recognized compression keywords, the user can supply a numeric compression algorithm for the drive to use. In most cases, simply turning the compression ‘on’ will have the desired effect of enabling the default compression algorithm supported by the drive. If this is not the case (see the status display to see which compression algorithm is currently in use), the user can manually specify one of the supported compression keywords (above), or supply a numeric compression value from the drive's specifications.
Note that for some older tape drives (for example the Exabyte 8200 and 8500 series drives) it is necessary to switch to a different density to tell the drive to record data in its compressed format. If the user attempts to turn compression on while the uncompressed density is selected, the drive will return an error. This is generally not an issue for modern tape drives.
Set the density for the drive. For the density codes, see below. The density value could be given either numerically, or as a string, corresponding to the “Reference” field. If the string is abbreviated, it will be resolved in the order shown in the table, and the first matching entry will be used. If the given string and the resulting canonical density name do not match exactly, an informational message is output about what the given string has been taken for.
The initial version of the density table below was taken from the ‘Historical sequential access density codes’ table (A-1) in Revision 11 of the SCSI-3 Stream Device Commands (SSC) working draft, dated November 11, 1997. Subsequent additions have come from a number of sources.
The density codes are:
0x0    default for device 
0xE    reserved for ECMA 
 
Value  Width        Tracks    Density         Code Type Reference   Note 
        mm    in              bpmm       bpi 
0x01   12.7  (0.5)    9         32     (800)  NRZI  R   X3.22-1983   2 
0x02   12.7  (0.5)    9         63   (1,600)  PE    R   X3.39-1986   2 
0x03   12.7  (0.5)    9        246   (6,250)  GCR   R   X3.54-1986   2 
0x05    6.3  (0.25)  4/9       315   (8,000)  GCR   C   X3.136-1986  1,3 
0x06   12.7  (0.5)    9        126   (3,200)  PE    R   X3.157-1987  2 
0x07    6.3  (0.25)   4        252   (6,400)  IMFM  C   X3.116-1986  1 
0x08    3.81 (0.15)   4        315   (8,000)  GCR   CS  X3.158-1987  1 
0x09   12.7  (0.5)   18      1,491  (37,871)  GCR   C   X3.180       2 
0x0A   12.7  (0.5)   22        262   (6,667)  MFM   C   X3B5/86-199  1 
0x0B    6.3  (0.25)   4         63   (1,600)  PE    C   X3.56-1986   1 
0x0C   12.7  (0.5)   24        500  (12,690)  GCR   C   HI-TC1       1,6 
0x0D   12.7  (0.5)   24        999  (25,380)  GCR   C   HI-TC2       1,6 
0x0F    6.3  (0.25)  15        394  (10,000)  GCR   C   QIC-120      1,6 
0x10    6.3  (0.25)  18        394  (10,000)  GCR   C   QIC-150      1,6 
0x11    6.3  (0.25)  26        630  (16,000)  GCR   C   QIC-320      1,6 
0x12    6.3  (0.25)  30      2,034  (51,667)  RLL   C   QIC-1350     1,6 
0x13    3.81 (0.15)   1      2,400  (61,000)  DDS   CS  X3B5/88-185A 5 
0x14    8.0  (0.315)  1      1,703  (43,245)  RLL   CS  X3.202-1991  5,11 
0x15    8.0  (0.315)  1      1,789  (45,434)  RLL   CS  ECMA TC17    5,12 
0x16   12.7  (0.5)   48        394  (10,000)  MFM   C   X3.193-1990  1 
0x17   12.7  (0.5)   48      1,673  (42,500)  MFM   C   X3B5/91-174  1 
0x18   12.7  (0.5)  112      1,673  (42,500)  MFM   C   X3B5/92-50   1 
0x19   12.7  (0.5)  128      2,460  (62,500)  RLL   C   DLTapeIII    6,7 
0x1A   12.7  (0.5)  128      3,214  (81,633)  RLL   C   DLTapeIV(20) 6,7 
0x1B   12.7  (0.5)  208      3,383  (85,937)  RLL   C   DLTapeIV(35) 6,7 
0x1C    6.3  (0.25)  34      1,654  (42,000)  MFM   C   QIC-385M     1,6 
0x1D    6.3  (0.25)  32      1,512  (38,400)  GCR   C   QIC-410M     1,6 
0x1E    6.3  (0.25)  30      1,385  (36,000)  GCR   C   QIC-1000C    1,6 
0x1F    6.3  (0.25)  30      2,666  (67,733)  RLL   C   QIC-2100C    1,6 
0x20    6.3  (0.25) 144      2,666  (67,733)  RLL   C   QIC-6GB(M)   1,6 
0x21    6.3  (0.25) 144      2,666  (67,733)  RLL   C   QIC-20GB(C)  1,6 
0x22    6.3  (0.25)  42      1,600  (40,640)  GCR   C   QIC-2GB(C)   ? 
0x23    6.3  (0.25)  38      2,666  (67,733)  RLL   C   QIC-875M     ? 
0x24    3.81 (0.15)   1      2,400  (61,000)        CS  DDS-2        5 
0x25    3.81 (0.15)   1      3,816  (97,000)        CS  DDS-3        5 
0x26    3.81 (0.15)   1      3,816  (97,000)        CS  DDS-4        5 
0x27    8.0  (0.315)  1      3,056  (77,611)  RLL   CS  Mammoth      5 
0x28   12.7  (0.5)   36      1,491  (37,871)  GCR   C   X3.224       1 
0x29   12.7  (0.5) 
0x2A 
0x2B   12.7  (0.5)    3          ?        ?     ?   C   X3.267       5 
0x40   12.7  (0.5)  384      4,800  (123,952)       C   LTO-1 
0x41   12.7  (0.5)  208      3,868  (98,250)  RLL   C   DLTapeIV(40) 6,7 
0x42   12.7  (0.5)  512      7,398  (187,909)       C   LTO-2 
0x44   12.7  (0.5)  704      9,638  (244,805)       C   LTO-3 
0x46   12.7  (0.5)  896      12,725 (323,215)       C   LTO-4 
0x47    3.81 (0.25)   ?      6,417  (163,000)       CS  DAT-72 
0x48   12.7  (0.5)  448      5,236  (133,000) PRML  C   SDLTapeI(110) 6,8,13 
0x49   12.7  (0.5)  448      7,598  (193,000) PRML  C   SDLTapeI(160) 6,8 
0x4A   12.7  (0.5)  768          ?            PRML  C   T10000A      10 
0x4B   12.7  (0.5) 1152          ?            PRML  C   T10000B      10 
0x4C   12.7  (0.5) 3584          ?            PRML  C   T10000C      10 
0x4D   12.7  (0.5) 4608          ?            PRML  C   T10000D      10 
0x51   12.7  (0.5)  512      11,800 (299,720)       C   3592A1 (unencrypted) 
0x52   12.7  (0.5)  896      11,800 (299,720)       C   3592A2 (unencrypted) 
0x53   12.7  (0.5) 1152      13,452 (341,681)       C   3592A3 (unencrypted) 
0x54   12.7  (0.5) 2560      19,686 (500,024)       C   3592A4 (unencrypted) 
0x55   12.7  (0.5) 5120      20,670 (525,018)       C   3592A5 (unencrypted) 
0x56   12.7  (0.5) 7680      20,670 (525,018)       C   3592B5 (unencrypted) 
0x58   12.7  (0.5) 1280      15,142 (384,607)       C   LTO-5 
0x5A   12.7  (0.5) 2176      15,142 (384,607)       C   LTO-6 
0x5C   12.7  (0.5) 3584      19,107 (485,318)       C   LTO-7 
0x5D   12.7  (0.5) 5376      19,107 (485,318)       C   LTO-M8       14 
0x5E   12.7  (0.5) 6656      20,669 (524,993)       C   LTO-8 
0x71   12.7  (0.5)  512      11,800 (299,720)       C   3592A1 (encrypted) 
0x72   12.7  (0.5)  896      11,800 (299,720)       C   3592A2 (encrypted) 
0x73   12.7  (0.5) 1152      13,452 (341,681)       C   3592A3 (encrypted) 
0x74   12.7  (0.5) 2560      19,686 (500,024)       C   3592A4 (encrypted) 
0x75   12.7  (0.5) 5120      20,670 (525,018)       C   3592A5 (encrypted) 
0x76   12.7  (0.5) 7680      20,670 (525,018)       C   3592B5 (encrypted) 
0x8c    8.0  (0.315)  1      1,789  (45,434)  RLL   CS  EXB-8500c    5,9 
0x90    8.0  (0.315)  1      1,703  (43,245)  RLL   CS  EXB-8200c    5,9
Code    Description                                Type Description 
----    --------------------------------------     ---- ----------- 
NRZI    Non return to zero, change on ones         R    Reel-to-reel 
GCR     Group code recording                       C    Cartridge 
PE      Phase encoded                              CS   Cassette 
IMFM    Inverted modified frequency modulation 
MFM     Modified frequency modulation 
DDS     DAT data storage 
RLL     Run length limited 
PRML    Partial Response Maximum Likelihood
NOTES 
1.  Serial recorded. 
2.  Parallel recorded. 
3.  Old format known as QIC-11. 
5.  Helical scan. 
6.  This is not an American National Standard.  The reference is based 
    on an industry standard definition of the media format. 
7.  DLT recording: serially recorded track pairs (DLTapeIII and 
    DLTapeIV(20)), or track quads (DLTapeIV(35) and DLTapeIV(40)). 
8.  Super DLT (SDLT) recording: 56 serially recorded logical tracks 
    with 8 physical tracks each. 
9.  Vendor-specific Exabyte density code for compressed format. 
10. bpi/bpmm values for the Oracle/StorageTek T10000 tape drives are 
    not listed in the manual.  Someone with access to a drive can 
    supply the necessary values by running 'mt getdensity'. 
11. This is Exabyte 8200 uncompressed format.  The compressed format 
    density code is 0x90. 
12. This is Exabyte 8500 uncompressed format.  The compressed format 
    density code is 0x8c. 
13. This density code (0x48) was also used for DAT-160. 
14. Officially known as LTO-8 Type M, abbreviated M8.  This is a pristine 
    LTO-7 cartridge initialized with a higher density format by an LTO-8 
    drive.  It cannot be read by an LTO-7 drive.  Uncompressed capacity 
    is 9TB, compared to 6TB for LTO-7 and 12TB for LTO-8.
NOTE ON QIC STREAMERS 
 
The following is a table of Data Cartridge types as used in the 1/4 inch 
tape drives such as the Archive Viper 150, Wangtek 5525ES, and Tandberg 
TDC4220 tape drives: 
 
Value Reference     Format    Cartridge Type  Capacity   Tracks  Length 
----- ---------     ------    --------------  --------   ------  ------ 
 
0x05                QIC-11    DC300           15MB       4        300ft 
0x05                QIC-11    DC300XL/P       20MB       4        450ft 
0x05                QIC-11    DC600           27MB       4        600ft 
0x05  X3.136-1986   QIC-24    DC615A          15MB       9        150ft 
0x05  X3.136-1986   QIC-24    DC300XL/P       45MB       9        450ft 
0x05  X3.136-1986   QIC-24    DC600A          60MB       9        600ft 
0x0F  QIC-120       QIC-120   DC600A/DC6150   120MB      15       620ft 
0x10  QIC-150       QIC-150   DC600XTD/DC6150 150MB      18       620ft 
0x10  QIC-150       QIC-150   DC6250          250MB      18     1,020ft 
0x11  QIC-320       QIC-525   DC6320          320MB      26       620ft 
0x11  QIC-320       QIC-525   DC6525          525MB      26     1,020ft 
0x1E  QIC-1000C     QIC-1000  DC9100/DL9135   1.0GB      30       760ft 
0x1E  QIC-1000C     QIC-1000  DC9150          1.2GB      30       950ft 
0x22  QIC-2GB(C)    QIC-2GB   DC9200          2.0GB      42       950ft 
0x22  QIC-2GB(C)    QIC-2GB   DC9250          2.5GB      42     1,200ft
Notes:
QIC-24, QIC-120, QIC-150 use fixed blocksize of 512 bytes, QIC-525, QIC-1000 and QIC-2GB can use blocksize of 1,024 bytes. DDS (DAT) drives generally use variable blocks.
QIC-02 and QIC-36 are interface standards for tape drives. The QIC-02 and QIC-36 streamers such as the Wangtek 5250EQ are otherwise identical to their SCSI versions (i.e.: Wangtek 5250ES).
It seems that the 150MB and larger streamers cannot write QIC-24 9 track formats, only read them.
DC600A cartridges marked "10,000ftpi" can only be used as QIC-11, QIC-24, and QIC-120 format. DC600A cartridges marked 12,500ftpi can be used as both QIC-120 and QIC-150 format.
Some manufacturers do not use "DC" on their cartridges. Verbatim uses DL, Maxell uses MC, Sony uses QD, Quill uses DQ.
3M/Imation & Fuji use DC. Thus a DL6250, MC-6250, QD6250, DQ6250 are all identical media to a DC6250.
QIC tape media is not "connected" to the take up reels and will de-spool if the tape drive has dust covering the light sensor that looks for the end of tape holes in the media.

This is the pathname of the tape drive. The default (if the variable is unset, but not if it is null) is /dev/nsa0. It may be overridden with the -f option.

/dev/*sa[0-9]*
SCSI magnetic tape interface

The exit status will be 0 when the drive operations were successful, 2 when the drive operations were unsuccessful, and 1 for other problems like an unrecognized command or a missing drive device.

Some undocumented commands support old software.

dd(1), ioctl(2), mtio(4), sa(4), environ(7)

The mt command appeared in 4.3BSD.
Extensions regarding the st(4) driver appeared in 386BSD-0.1 as a separate st command, and have been merged into the mt command in FreeBSD 2.1.
The former eof command that used to be a synonym for weof has been abandoned in FreeBSD 2.1 since it was often confused with eom, which is fairly dangerous.

The utility cannot be interrupted or killed during a long erase (which can be longer than an hour), and it is easy to forget that the default erase is long.
Hardware block numbers do not always correspond to blocks on the tape when the drive uses internal compression.
Erasure is not guaranteed if the tape is not at its beginning.
Tape-related documentation is poor, here and elsewhere.
November 3, 2017 FreeBSD 12.0-RELEASE

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